"Fourdimensional ideas into a twodimensional stage" : E.E. Cummings' and László Moholy-Nagy's aesthetics of drama and theater

Author: Vernyik, Zénó
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2008, vol. 34, iss. 1, pp. [139]-149
Extent
[139]-149
  • ISSN
    1211-1791
Type: Article
Language
English
License: Not specified license
Abstract(s)
Canonized and respected as it may be, E.E. Cummings' oeuvre is surely anything but well known: it is far from being general knowledge that his contribution to art and culture well exceed those of a poet. And while some scholars are active in making him more and more respected as a painter, there are few traces of interest in his prose and his dramatic works. This essay shows that five articles written by Cummings for the magazines The Dial and Vanity Fair can together be considered as his dramatic program. Furthermore, it provides a comparative analysis of his theories and those that Laszlo Moholy-Nagy advertised in his essay "Theater, Circus, Variety", a part of the 1925 manifesto The Theater of the Bauhaus. Through this analysis of Cummings' theorizing about theater, this short essay tries to call attention to the fact that in contrast with both present-day thoughts about his importance in the field of drama, as well as criticisms of his own contemporaries, Cummings was actually following the contemporary currents of theater.
Document
References:
[1] Cummings, E. E. (1965a) 'Coney Island'. In: Firmage, George J. (ed.) E. E. Cummings. A Miscellany Revised. New York: October House, 149–53.

[2] Cummings, E. E. (1965b) 'The Adult, the Artist and the Circus.' In: Firmage, George J. (ed.) E. E. Cummings. A Miscellany Revised. New York: October House, 109–14.

[3] Cummings, E. E. (1965c) 'The Theatre: I'. In: Firmage, George J. (ed.) E. E. Cummings. A Miscellany Revised. New York: October House, 141–4.

[4] Cummings, E. E. (1965d) 'The Theatre: II'. In: Firmage, George J. (ed.) E. E. Cummings. A Miscellany Revised. New York: October House, 145–8.

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[7] Curjel, Hans. (1991) 'Excerpt from Moholy-Nagy and the Theater'. Trans. Sibyl Moholy-Nagy. In: Kostelanetz, Richard (ed.) Moholy-Nagy. An Anthology. New York: Da Capo, 94–96.

[8] Crary, Jonathan. (1998) 'The Camera Obscura and its Subject'. In: Mirzoeff, Nicholas (ed.) The Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 245–52.

[9] Firmage, George G. (ed.) (1965) E. E. Cummings. A Miscellany Revised. New York: October House.

[10] Malamud, Margaret. (2001) 'The Greatest Show on Earth: Roman Entertainments in Turn-of-theCentury New York City'. Journal of Popular Culture 35 (3), 43–58. | DOI 10.1111/j.0022-3840.2001.3503_43.x

[11] Moholy-Nagy, László (1961) 'Theater, Circus, Variety'. Trans. Arthur S. Wensinger. In: Gropius, Walter (ed.) The Theater of the Bauhaus. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 49–70.

[12] Virilio, Paul (1998) 'A Topographical Amnesia'. In: Mirzoeff, Nicholas (ed.) The Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 108–121.